AFC World Cup Qualifying – Matchday 3 Recap

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Thursday, September 3rd was a difficult day. It was the day on the calendar when the AFC teams that originated in Pot 1 hosted the teams that originated in Pot 5. Basically, it’s the best of the best in Asia hosting many teams that haven’t reached a World Cup Qualifying group stage in a long time, if not ever. The results were predictable and in many cases embarrassing. But overall, the prognosis in qualifying didn’t move all that much. Only 5 teams had their odds of progressing to the next round change by more than 10% in either direction.

As a reminder, each of the 8 group winners advance, as well as the 4 best 2nd place teams. Be sure to check out our Live Streams page, as we’ll provide links to as many matches as possible with no ads. Ever.

 

Group A

United Arab Emirates 10 – Malaysia 0
Saudi Arabia 7 – Timor-Leste 0

The big boys in the group flexed their muscle. A combined 17-0 clobbering really created some separation in this group. UAE and Saudi Arabia now each sit on 6 points atop the group. It’s amazing to think what would’ve happened if Palestine didn’t concede at the death in Saudi Arabia. We think there’s less than a 1% chance either Malaysia or Timor-Leste gets through. Palestine could be a wild card, and they have a huge match coming up that could break their campaign.

Sept 8
Malaysia v. Saudi Arabia
Palestine v. United Arab Emirates

There’s still a lot to be determined in this group, and this is really Palestine’s opportunity to make a push for the next round. If they come up empty at home, their qualifying campaign is basically over. Likewise for Malaysia. They need 3 points, but given how they got blasted by UAE, that seems very unlikely. After the day is over, this group will either be a 2 or 3 team group. Palestine v. UAE is the one to watch. And Saudi Arabia really could use three points in their quest to move on.

Odds to Advance
UAE: 92.04%
Saudi Arabia: 47.80%
Palestine: 5.20%
Timor-Leste: 0.00%
Malaysia: 0.00%

 

Group B

Australia 5 – Bangladesh 0
Jordan 0 – Kyrgyzstan 0

Well it looked like Australia did really well until you saw some of the results later in the day. But Australia took care of business and their top competition, Jordan, did not keep pace at home. Despite only playing 2 games thus far, Australia is out front of the entire pack. We now have Australia to finish a full 11 points ahead of 2nd place. That’s crazy. 2nd place, however, seems really open, and any of Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, or Tajikistan really have a shot. Will it be enough to be one of the 4 best? It seems doubtful.

Sept 8
Bangladesh v. Jordan
Tajikistan v. Australia

Jordan simply has to win at Bangladesh. They can’t drop any more points, and Bangladesh appears to be the bottom team in this group. It’s not necessary for Australia to win, but they can get a firm grip on this group if they take 3 points. We never expected a 2nd team to advance out of this group. Nobody is of Australia’s quality, and the other teams are all very solid. They beat each other up and aren’t likely to have enough points to be a top 4 2nd place team.

Odds to Advance
Australia: 99.80%
Jordan: 5.52%
Kyrgyzstan: 0.88%
Tajikistan: 0.04%
Bangladesh: 0.04%

 

Group C

China PR 0 – Hong Kong 0
Qatar 15 – Bhutan 0

Yes you read that right. If you missed the final, Qatar dropped 15 on Bhutan. It’s the highest number of goals by a team in an international game in 3 years. Qatar was relentless. But the bigger story was China coming up empty at home against Hong Kong. A Chinese player recently said “it’s us and Qatar”. No, it’s not. It’s Qatar and everyone else. China took a bath in a match they really couldn’t afford to drop points. Their odds of advancing were at 77%. That’s now down to 57.5%. Hong Kong certainly still has a ways to go, but they’ve cut into China’s edge as they currently top the group on 7 points.

Sept 8
Hong Kong v. Qatar
Maldives v. China PR

Now we’ve got some interesting matchups. Hong Kong has a tremendous opportunity here. If they can find a way to get 3 points over Qatar, their chances to advance go through the roof. Couple that with the possibility that China now has a tough road match at Maldives, and you could have a wide open group. Qatar scored in the 99th minute (somehow) to win at Maldives in a match they probably didn’t deserve. This is certainly a group to keep your eye on, as things may be changing. Maldives is tough, but we think this group is a little too much for them.

Odds to Advance
Qatar: 93.28%
China PR: 57.56%
Hong Kong: 10.68%
Maldives: 0.00%
Bhutan: 0.00%

 

Group D

Iran 6 – Guam 0
Oman 3 – Turkmenistan 1

Surely Guam must be disappointed with the result after entering the match with 2 wins from 2 matches. They still sit top of the group with Oman, and it’s just one match. But it became clear that Iran is the team to beat, with Oman just behind them. Iran may end up kicking themselves over that draw in Turkmenistan, but we’ll see. Guam needs to move on quickly, as Oman and Iran are making their moves.

Sept 8
Guam v. Oman
India v. Iran

We’ve yet to mention India, and that’s not by accident. We think Iran crushes India, not even giving them the luxury of calling the next day. But the game to watch is clearly Guam hosting Oman. Results have fallen as we’ve expected in this group, and this is the match Guam needs if they really are serious about continuing their campaign. After this match, they only have one more home match, so it couldn’t be bigger. Oman is really tough, but the long travel and environment could cause issues. Definitely one to watch.

Odds to Advance
Iran: 98.20%
Oman: 57.60%
Guam: 1.16%
Turkmenistan: 0.00%
India: 0.00%

 

Group E

Japan 3 – Cambodia 0
Syria 1 – Singapore 0

This group didn’t get in on the goal scoring fun on Thursday. Japan won convincingly, but they did not finish to the tune of the other Asian teams. Our top two teams got wins, but they did not look all that impressive. This group is close, and Singapore really could have used a point against Syria. Cambodia looks to be done, but this group is certainly not decided yet. Syria’s 6 points in 2 matches is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Sept 8
Cambodia v. Syria
Afghanistan v. Japan

This is going to be an interesting day. Singapore is sitting idle hoping one of the home teams can take points from Syria or Japan. Afghanistan isn’t a bad team, but they had a really rough time losing 6-0 at Syria. Japan is a tough test here. And Cambodia is just a sitting duck. We don’t project another team in qualifying to end up with fewer points. If they get anything it’ll be a surprise. Afghanistan hosting Japan is really the one to watch, but if Japan grabs 3 points, they’re gonna be in pretty good shape. We really like Syria as one of the best 2nd place teams.

Odds to Advance
Japan: 97.72%
Syria: 64.36%
Singapore: 1.28%
Afghanistan: 0.08%
Cambodia: 0.00%

 

Group F

Iraq 5 – Chinese Taipei 1

Only 1 game in Group F as Iraq finally got their campaign underway. Indonesia’s banning screwed everything up. While we believe Iraq to be the favorite, Thailand and Vietnam definitely have a chance in this group. Iraq needed to take care of business and they did. Taiwan looks to be done after just two matches.

Sept 8
Chinese Taipei v. Vietnam
Thailand v. Iraq

Two matches! Everyone is in action on Tuesday! Obviously the Thailand/Iraq tilt is going to be a big one. It’s arguably the biggest match in qualifying. Thailand has a tremendous opportunity to grab hold of this group if they can come up with 3 points. The winner of this match will be the favorite to win the group. Let’s see what Vietnam has here. They really can’t afford to drop points against Taiwan, so if they can emerge with a victory, this group is going to be extremely close. We think Thailand gets through even if they don’t win the group.

Odds to Advance
Iraq: 90.24%
Thailand: 75.28%
Vietnam: 9.96%
Chinese Taipei: 0.20%

 

Group G

Korea Republic 8 – Laos 0
Kuwait 9 – Myanmar 0

Yikes. Both of the Group G big boys ran train on Laos and Myanmar. Laos hung tough, and it really could have been closer, but the outcome of both of these matches was never in doubt. The real loser in all this is Lebanon. After losing their opener at home against Kuwait, their odds plummeted. And they just got even worse with these results. Kuwait continued to improve their odds of advancing, as they’re perfect through two matches. Korea shouldn’t have much trouble moving on.

Sept 8
Laos v. Kuwait
Lebanon v. Korea Republic

This is going to be interesting. If Lebanon loses, their odds of advancing are basically shot. If either of the home teams are able to emerge with points, it should be considered a major victory. But you have two teams here in Kuwait and Korea Republic trying to outdo the other. They’re gonna keep banging on teams until they face each other, just hoping the other slips up. Both of these matches should be competitive, but it’s tough to see anything but two road victories. Maybe Lebanon gets something.

Odds to Advance
Korea Republic: 99.44%
Kuwait: 60.88%
Lebanon: 1.24%
Myanmar: 0.00%
Laos: 0.00%

 

Group H

Uzbekistan 1 – Yemen 0
Bahrain 0 – Korea DPR 1

This is our favorite group. It should be yours too. What was initially wide open, turned close, and now a clear favorite has emerged. It’s Korea DPR, as they’re perfect on 9 points through 3 matches. They’re the only team in qualifying on 9 points. Only two other teams in this group even have points at all! Yemen and Bahrain have both been wildly disappointing. And while they didn’t get clobbered 15-0, it all counts the same in the loss column. Uzbekistan got a huge win, as they needed to not drop any further behind Korea DPR.

Sept 8
Philippines v. Uzbekistan
Yemen v. Bahrain

Somebody’s got to get points in the Yemen/Bahrain match. They’ve combined for 1 goal scored and 9 allowed. Bahrain is in real trouble and they need 3 desperately. There should be an equal amount of desperation in the Philippines/Uzbekistan match. Whoever gets the short end of the stick there is going to see their odds drop tremendously. We always knew this was going to be a tough group. We projected two teams in Group C and two in Group E to have higher odds of advancing than ANY in this group. Uzbekistan topped out at 65%, but that’s no longer the case. There’s a clear favorite. Sorry to the Philippines, who our rankings just do not favor.

Odds to Advance
Korea DPR: 89.00%
Uzbekistan: 35.12%
Bahrain: 3.72%
Philippines: 1.68%
Yemen: 0.00%

 

Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoyed the recap. We’ll have streams for Tuesday’s matches as soon as they’re available. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @We_Global

 

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